Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Star trek review *spoilers*

Back with a long overdue movie review. This time its JJ. Abrahams newest movie Star Trek.

A chronicle of the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members

Let it be said that I am not the biggest trek fan. Ive seen most of enterprise and some of the movies. I'm more into Firefly, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactic (old and new) but still respect "Trek" for what it is. Its many questions and discoveries as well as the moral dilemmas and choices as well as pure entertainment and thrill

Ile get on..

The story in the Star Trek movie is fairly spares and underdeveloped. This is mostly because of the whole reboot take. JJ. had to reintroduce to the younger audience while pleasing the older fan-base and thus I feel that the movie lacks a serious story arc. Overall is almost a side plot. Despite this JJ. manages to make Star trek his own thing. It light, fast, pretty, fun and action filled with a dash of special effects contrary to the old star trek that was more about moral, embargo, communication and diplomacy/politics and exploring. I guess I wouldn't have liked the movie as much if it was a 2 hour long court trial set on the dark side of Pluto but I did feel that the new movie did sacrifice a lot of thoughtful decisions/questioning/dilemmas just so it could pack in more fast action. cue`s to old trek. Red shirt. Uhuras earpiece. Scotty`s line, Checov`s lines are also made to distract the fans while the movie is slowly going in another direction.

That being said the pacing in this movie is spot on. You are rarely bored or left wandering. The movie holds your hand all the time and guides you. This is kind my problem with the movie.. There where nothing other then what was happeing on the screen. The universe seemed small and not big or wast at the older films have been. This might be due to new time line that JJ. is creating. Ile get back to this..

"The bridge" kinda looks like a apple store if you ask me

At first the characters looked completely wrong and way to young to represent the new generation of trekkers. More like underwear models then serious actors, but given time they do kinda grow on you.

Chris Pine (Kirk) was to me a big help in the movie since he first came out as a young, relative unknown actor that looked like he belonged in a "final destination"/"high school/get laid" movie as the stupid bully jock. But, boy was I proven wrong. He didn't blow my mind or anything but he did give the movie the stage presence that was needed and he was a really good Kirk. He based his performance on Tom Cruise's "Maverick" and Harrison Ford's "Han Solo" and "Indiana Jones", heroes who Pine felt possessed the archetypal hero qualities Kirk has (humor, arrogance, decisiveness) and it totally worked in my book. I was afraid that he would just rip off shatner but he proved me wrong. His chemistry with Spock also worked really well

Spock in this movie was far more interesting then the rest of the cast. (except for Simon pegg that is) He was really the most "human" of the crew as he was torn between the whole half human/Vulcan issue. His story arc was one of the more interesting ones as well. and he was wonderfully entertaining to watch

I was really glad to see Leonard Nimoy as "Ol Spock" That to me, liftet the movie up to the "trek" that I know.. I thought that having him in there ensured a lot of fans not to totally hate the movie. Also JJ. properly dident have to give him much direction since Nemoy IS spock in that sense. It was just a joy to see.

Pine was great as the captain and the only one that really carried any authority. I would have wanted to see more of him

The only characters that I thought tried a little to hard was Checov and Sulu.
Checov to me is a really great character since he kinda stands out from the crowd in the old ones. (plus he is scary as hell as the Psi-Core leader in Babylon 5) In this one he had way to little to really say and looked way to young to have such a important role on the ship (as jocked within the movie) He also made transporting look difficult instead of the whole "onetwothreebuttonpush" the old ones had. (despite his screens made no sense at all during this)

Sulu wasen`t an important character in this movie so I dont have much to say about him. I was dreading the "harold&kumar" look and wibe, that I associate him with but he did for the most part stay out of the movie.

Uhura was build up to be something big in this movie but ultimately served as a toy between Spock and Kirk. The first Uhura was a really important icon in television history as she was the first black female in on tv. The new Uhura had little to say and was just "goggling" Spock. At least she was easy on the eyes..

The only character that I felt was severly under-used was Simon Pegg as cheif enginer Scotty. Im only saying this because I love everything Simon is in (despite whoring himself out to America lately with movies such as: How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Big Nothing, and Mission: Impossible III) I have a huge man-crush on Simon from his early days in "Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Big train, Asylum and SPACED" and I wish that the entire movie was about him.. but sadly he was put there to pick up the comedic pace since everyone else was crying and whining. His accent was spot on for the average American moviegoer as they can identify him as "somwhere irelandyish" He did the best he can with what he got and can only blame (if any) JJ. for not giving him more back story and meat in the movie. He was sort of just squeezed into the plot to give audience a homage to Scotty and in order to somehow get Kirks character back on the ship.

Then there is Nero. The "villain" of the movie. This has got to be one of the weakest villains in a long time. (General Grievous on second place) To me he was more a disgruntled miner blinded by rage. It had a sort of "The Postman" feel to it. He was just a guy caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Eric bana did a good role with that that was given to him. Maybe he wasn't supposed to be a big villain like Khan or feared or something but he just came out as wrong. His henchman was more scary then Nero. Apparently IDW published a comic prequel series entitled "Star Trek: Countdown" that fleshed out Nero's back story and the reasons for Old Spock's involvement but if you have to publish a comic besides the movie inorder to get everything in place, isent that a sign of something? I did however like the fact that Nero was so blinded by rage that he dissident travel back to Romulus to tell people that they only had 150 years to fix this issue, or abandon the planet. He just waited.. Now thats bad ass!

I talked earlier about JJ. taking Trek into new territories. This especially since they destroyed Vulcan in this one and did not fix it before the end. I was sure that they where going to use the time warp factor or something. I don't really have a relationship with the old cast or history so this docent really bother me as much as it might do with some fans. When Nero went back in time...he created a NEW alternate reality. So now everything from the old star trek is preserved in another reality/dimension. While this reality can be FULL of surprises. Its a kool take and makes trek more new in many ways since they can really do what ever they want. Another sign of this is Spock and Uhura love affair. I didn't really care since it was only really put there to further the chemistry between Kirk and Spock.

Another thing I found really interesting me was how much Star Wars is in Star Trek. Think about it. Kirk is a a farm boy, Nero as Darth Vader, Pike as Obiwan ken obi. Its more of a heroes journey then the diplomatic quest, Ice planet with monsters?. All the way up to the end scene where they get medals. Cue fanfare. just a funny observation thats all

Also the chain of command is really screwed up in this one. Kirk gets back the the ship and immediately starts dissing Spock in-order to get a reaction out of him. Spock snaps off-course and gets towed of the brig while Kirk is promoted Captain. What happened there? Docent this show that Kirk is the ultimate bully and not really fit to run the ship? Clearly Spock was more right for this. While all the others are just staring at them bickering. It just seemed weird

The effects that ILM whipped up are incredible. Rarely has the Enterprise seemed so nimble and mobile yet dangerous at the same time. Theres monsters hissing, monitors bleeping and ships blowing up.. plus a planet or two. (funny since ILM is a lucas created company) My biggest consern is the over-use of lensflare. Ile admit that this does give the movie a "state-of-the-art/scifi" look but it was a little distractin when there is really nothing that suggest lensflare on the screen. Sun in space? Ok. Indoors in a bedroom? Slightly stretching it... The lensflare was there in MI3 as well, maybe to build it up or something.. Not sure about Cloverfield though.

Ile end here.

All in all. JJ`s Star Trek is not your fathers Star Trek. Its fast, stupid and action filled. I had hoped for more thought then simple action but it does work reasonably well. Hopefully they will address this in the sequel that is bound to come. Its a good ride and fun at the same time. Its easily forgotten and a fine reboot of the series. Heres hoping for Worf and Data in that one.



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